Dogwood 2018 Photography Challenge: Weeks 31-35

As often happens at the end of the year, I totally gave up this blog amongst a ton of travel, events, shopping, and a new job. However, I DID keep up my Dogwood Photography, so I’m going to re-kick-off blogging for the umpteenth time by catching you up (gradually) on all the photos you’ve missed. Here we go with weeks 31 through 35…

Week 31 – Wildcard: Photographer’s Choice [Shot with Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM]
Capture an image on your terms; who, what, where, when, why, how … it’s all up to you. Caveat: You must tell us your intent.

This week, my intent was to capture the fun and bright colors of Bando’s birthday celebration (so festive and cheerful!). The Milkbar cake, well, took the cake!

Dogwood Week 31

Continue reading

Dogwood 2018 Photography Challenge: Weeks 28-30

Week 28 – Composition: Left to Right Rule [Shot with Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM]
Compose an image in the way we read; most countries read from left to right. Compose your shot to follow this direction.

The Boy and I were photographing a wedding this week (more photos to come soon on the Rose & Gale website, which is my new home for our larger photo efforts), and I grabbed a lucky shot with partygoers on the dance floor where the light spilling in perfectly fulfilled the left to right rule.

Dogwood Week 28

Week 29 – Technical: Twilight Zone [Shot with Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM]
While golden and blue hours bring beautiful lighting, shooting in twilight opens up a new way of seeing the world. Capture a “scape” that isn’t dominated by darkness. Show the light and textures that can be found under the stars, in city lights, or a moon filled sky. Continue reading

Eating Out in Portland: Savory Adventures

While I’ve already covered the many bites of sugary goodness we consumed on our weekend trip to Portland, OR, I’d be remiss to not also talk about the other, more savory meals we experienced while there. I can’t really categorize these, since a lot of the time we were eating at random times (when hungry or just when near somewhere we’d heard of), but if you take away nothing else, know that Portland does not lack for tasty food options.

Our first day, we lunched at Afuri Ramen & Dumpling, which we wandered into after gorging ourselves on VooDoo Doughnut offerings next door. Continue reading

Eating Out in Portland: Pastries & Sweets

A few weeks ago, the Boy took me on a weekend trip to Portland, OR – my first visit despite being a short plane ride away. From the beginning, the main item on my agenda was the same one that’s usually at the top of my list when traveling  – eating! In fact, we ate so much in two days that I’m breaking it up into two posts – starting with all the sugary goodness we shoved into our faces.

Voodoo Doughnuts


Portland is a haven for every trendy food available (though  we did not try what was apparently the current hot trend – craft jello shots), with dueling donut shops scattered prominently across the city. We hit up two of the hallmarks: VooDoo Doughnut and Blue Star. Continue reading

Dogwood 2018 Photography Challenge: Weeks 24-27

Wow, seems like I haven’t posted these for a while! Here are some of the latest…

Week 24 – Composition: Contrast [Shot with iPhone 6s]
 An easy way to make a photo more interesting is to introduce some form of stark contrast: liquid/solid, hard/soft, delicate/brash.

We had a busy weekend and were running out of time for this challenge, but the broad white wall of a studio in Hollywood created the perfect blank canvas for a contrasting play of light and shadow from a nearby tree.

Dogwood Week 24

Week 25 – Technical: Starburst [Shot with Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6]
Create a very strong focal point and add an entirely new dimension of interest to your image using a starburst. Continue reading

Eating In: Pink Lemonade Bars for Book Club

The Boy and I joined a book club a few months ago – I’ve aways been a reader, but this encourages me to read things outside of my normal comfort zone since other people are usually the ones picking the book. The way it works is if you choose the book, you host the monthly meeting, which is how the Boy and I ended up hosting the meet-up for his pick, Naomi Alderman’s The Power.

The Power Book Club

The Power is, in extremely short summary, a speculative novel about what would happen if women had more power than men – in this case, specifically the power to produce a deadly electrical charge at will. It’s very interesting and very good, both as a gripping story and as a piece of fiction that makes you think about the world (so all in all, good for book clubs).

The Boy happened to be out-of-town in the days leading up to our book club meeting, so in between frantically working to finish the book (it’s so popular I couldn’t get my hands on it until later than I usually do in these situations), I planned a tongue-in-cheek spread of snacks that fell under two themes: “electricity” and “pink.” Continue reading

Dogwood 2018 Photography Challenge: Weeks 22-23

Week 22 – Creative: Door [Shot with Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM]
A symbol of transition, a door or a gate provide a passage way.

I took a leaf out of an old 2017 challenge, and made my “door” photo more interesting with a magical fairy light emerging from it and darting through my hallway.

Dogwood Week 22

Week 23 – Vision: No Peeking [Shot with Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM]
Shoot as if you were using a film camera. That means that you will not look at the photographs you’ve taken until they are downloaded on your computer. Continue reading

Layover Life: 6 Hours in Oslo

As with our flight to Spain and Morocco, our return flight had a long enough layover to leave the airport – this time, in Oslo! Norway has an excellent train system that sent us quickly from the airport to the heart of the city in about 30 minutes, giving us plenty of time to get a quick taste (we’re already plotting our return…).

View from Akershus Fortress

We got off the train right by the Oslo Opera House (free), a beautiful modern building on the water that was practically glowing in November afternoon light (the light there was truly incredible, since it was basically golden hour the whole time we were there thanks to Norway’s particular seasonal daylight). We walked around, taking photos and taking in the view (note: it’s cold there in November!).

We then continued our walk around the city, strolling along the water and through the Akershus Fortress (free), a military area and castle with large grounds that snake through a variety of historical stone buildings.

Akershus Fortress

We ended up grabbing a bite to eat at the Eufemia Bar in the Thon Hotel Opera near the train station, where we notably tried reindeer and lingonberries (tasty!).


And we couldn’t leave Oslo without trying Aquavit – luckily, the Norwegian Aquavit Bar in the airport (believe it or not) provided the opportunity! (We did not like it.)



  • DO: Take in the gorgeous architecture of the Oslo Opera House
  • DO: Wander the grounds and look at the views from the Akershus Fortress
  • DRINK: Try the Scandinavian liquor aquavit (at your own risk!)


Out and About in Marrakech

We only spent one day in Marrakech, so at some point we’d like to go back and see more of it  – especially as by the time we arrived, we were starting to figure out some of the nuances of traveling in Morocco (you better believe we had airport transfers to and from the hotel). Still, we managed to do enough in one day that I figured I’d round it all up here for you!

Marrakech Door

Palace of the Bahia

The main activity of our visit was exploring the Palace of the Bahia (10 dirhams),  a nineteenth century palace (and big tourism site) in Marrakech. Continue reading